What Is a Spousal Green Card?
If you’re a foreign national, married to a US citizen, or lawful permanent resident, then you need the right immigration documentation that would allow you to take up permanent residence and work anywhere in the US.
In that case, a spousal or marriage green card might work for your needs. By obtaining a green card through marriage, you become a lawful permanent resident of the US (“green card holder”). However, before applying, you need to be sure that you meet the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements.
Eligibility for Spousal Green Card
The spousal green card only applies to the spouse of a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Often, the spouses of green card holders have conditional status as permanent residents. They can seek US citizenship after some years.
Under US immigration laws, spouses refer to legally married husbands and their wives, as well as same-sex marriages.
It is essential to note the following conditions regarding the definition of spouses:
Merely living together isn’t enough for immigration purposes
Depending on the country’s rules, common-law spouses or marriage partners may be eligible for spousal green cards
Only the first polygamous spouse would be eligible for a spousal green card
Petition for Spouse Green Card
The procedure for obtaining a spousal green card begins with a USCIS petition. The US citizen spouse will have to fill out forms for the visa marriage petition, including the following:
Form I-130-Petition for Alien Relative
Form I-130A- Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
The couple will submit these forms to the USCIS along with other supporting documents.
The National Visa Center (NVC) will receive the I-130 petition and supporting documents once USCIS approves it. The NVC will then begin consular processing if the immigrant visa is approved.
Spouses of US citizens can immediately start on their immigration visas. In contrast, spouses of permanent residents may have to wait a while to receive a visa from the NVC.
The NVC will ask the foreign spouse to submit the immigrant visa application (DS-260) and other supporting documents, including Form I-864 (“Affidavit of Support”), before the physical interview. Visa application processing fees would apply here.
Spouse Green Card Processing Time and Validity Duration
The total processing time for a marriage-based green card is between 11-52 months, depending on several factors, including how long the couple has been married.
Couples that have been married for less than two years get the CR1 green card. The CR1 visa (conditional residence) is a conditional green card that is valid for two years. Couples must complete Form I-751 (the “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence”) 90 days before the conditional green card expires to acquire permanent resident status. The USCIS will re-evaluate the couple’s marriage to ensure it’s real and they didn’t marry for immigration purposes.
Couples That Have Been Married for More Than Two years
The foreign spouse of couples in this category will get a 10-year IR1 visa (or “immediate relative”) green card. Renewal of a 10-year green card is usually straightforward and does not require reproving the couple’s marriage.
Legal Representation for Spousal Visa Application
Getting things right and submitting all papers correctly the first time reduces delays and denials. You can contact Kansas City immigration lawyers for help with your green card application. A skilled immigration lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes that could delay your application and ensure your documents are prepared for official review.
If you still have questions about obtaining a spousal green card, or you’re concerned about your other immigration options, contact KC Immigration Lawyers as soon as possible to get help.